"Despite its comic overtones, 'The Gin Game' presents a clarifying portrait of the loneliness that may come with age, and the difficulties of forging a relationship when our personalities have quite naturally become calcified by experience. As the moving performances of Mr. Jones and Ms. Tyson bear out, playing the hands we are dealt with equanimity is much easier when we are still sure that there will be many more hands to play." Full Review
"Critics have contended that 'The Gin Game' is a gimmick that relies too much on such memorably starry performances. The acting really is magnificent but Leonard Foglia's smart direction helps to draw out Coburn's underlying themes, proving this play to be much more than a mere card trick...'The Gin Game' is a not-to-be-missed theatrical event, not just for the opportunity to witness two living legends at work, but to see them put their craft toward a story that really matters in 2015 America." Full Review
"It’s true what they say about bona fide stars like Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones — they could indeed hold us spellbound simply by reading the New York telephone book. Not that 'The Gin Game' is as insubstantial as the contents of the phone book. But despite having won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, this two-hander really is a slip of a thing, elevated to dramatic art by captivating Broadway performances from two of the most enchanting actors you’d ever hope to see on the same stage." Full Review
"If 'The Gin Game' is a little thin on plot to fill out its two acts, it serves splendidly as a star vehicle for beloved senior actors. There's nothing unexpected about the performances of Tyson and Jones, but they play their hands beautifully and when the script calls for them to hesitantly hold each other in a slow dance, there's not an unmelted heart in the house." Full Review
"D.L. Coburn’s play was a hit in 1976, but it’s thin as a needle, with a sharp point at the end on which its poignancy relies. Leonard Foglia’s revival lacks that sense of purpose in its shape. The age of the actors perhaps makes them slower and cuter than might be ideal; the result is likable but shambling. In gin, after all, having a king and queen in your hand is not enough to win; they need to be built into a sequence. That sense of order is not in these cards." Full Review
"Whether Jones and Tyson are having memorization problems I cannot say, but the production is so lame and misguided (by the director Leonard Foglia) you would almost prefer that they suddenly started ad libbing selections from far better work each of them has done. As it is, they stick at least to the outlines of the script." Full Review
"Jones and Tyson are giving such confident, entertaining performances, not until very late does it becomes apparent that they are not really playing 'The Gin Game...' The big question is if audiences will be sufficiently amused by the graveside vaudeville of Leonard Foglia's production to forgive the fact that it falls apart in the final scene...There is a much more mordant play lurking inside, one that brings its character to a stunningly bleak conclusion." Full Review
"'The Gin Game' is not a very good play. It may have won the Pulitzer Prize, but it as creaky as the dilapidated assisted living facility in which it is set. Yet when actors as fine as James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson are interested, producers beg to be dealt in...Coburn’s view of human life is condescending and dyspeptic. He finds it for the most part, nasty, brutish and long. Bitter stuff. But these actors, even before the wide and irrepressible smiles they unfurl at the curtain call, make... Full Review
"The two characters in 'The Gin Game' do little more than play card games and, once, (spoiler alert) dance. But they’re portrayed by James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson – with some 130 years of acting experience between them – and that’s enough to turn this Broadway revival into a stellar outing at the theater." Full Review
"Despite it being obvious that Weller and Fonsia need each other, Mr. Coburn finds obstacles to their realizing this; his plotline may be thin, his material may seem repetitive, he could trim the running time a bit, and his ending isn’t satisfactory, but the playwright’s skill at keeping the dramatic ball in the air as the characters work out their issues keeps the audience sharply focused over the course of two acts and nearly two hours. Like it or not, that alone makes a visit worthwhile." Full Review
"Comedy may not all be in the timing, but a large part of it is and James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson give an acting master class in it in a delightful revival of 'The Gin Game...' In the hands of Jones and Tyson, they are simply lost, lonely souls for whom one ends up feeling great sympathy and kinship and wish you could see every Visitor's Day at that old-folks home." Full Review
"D.L. Coburn's two-hander is so slight it might almost evaporate as it's unfolding...What keeps the slender piece engaging is the delicate dance between Jones and Tyson...Foglia leans heavily on the humor, perhaps dimming some of the more emotionally affecting notes and making the shift into sobering home truths and self-recriminations somewhat abrupt. But there's no denying the crowdpleasing pleasure of watching these two masterful actors." Full Review
"Light on tragedy and heavy on comedy—at least in this version—it’s an infallible vehicle for two aging stars who can lay on the charm...Unfortunately, Leonard Foglia, the director, seems not to understand that there’s more to 'The Gin Game' than jokes...The results are hard to resist, but too soft-edged to bring true tears." Full Review
"'The Gin Game' is a nice little play about an unlikely friendship, and Leonard Foglia's revival is generally pleasant. Showing strong chemistry, Jones and Tyson make fine sparring partners. With pitch-perfect delivery, Jones digs into every line with fervor, booming bombast and an endearingly cranky spirit, while Tyson has a warm presence and navigates her character's dramatic moments with aplomb." Full Review
"If you think you're about to hear anything critical of the two old pros James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, you better think again. They're well nigh perfect...The play is no worse for wear. Whether it was ever a flawless piece of writing is less certain...By the time the second act ends, it's become too much a repetition of the first." Full Review
"The magic of people like Jones and Tyson comes from their ability to keep your gaze on them even when little else around them does. Even if the rest of 'The Gin Game' stalls, at delivering that essential theatrical element, Jones and Tyson are an unvarnished success." Full Review
"Under Leonard Foglia’s direction, Tyson and Jones hit all the right notes of charming, amusing, ornery and scary. Along the way Jones and Tyson hold you, like the cards, in the palm of their hands." Full Review
"Under Leonard Foglia’s sensitive direction, the actors give their all to an almost-good play...Jones is more tentative here than usual, more halting in his speeches, more brittle than we expect Weller to be. Several exchanges faltered because of that, losing the snap necessary, and as a result, the play seemed even more schematic and predictable than I’d remembered. Still, there’s great pleasure in seeing these two masters duking it out over a card table. Call it a straight flush, if not qui... Full Review
"The play hasn't aged all that well. The reliance on the repeated gin games to serves as a sort of onion to peel away the players' true personalities and situations with each deal has always been somewhat too schematic. And it seems more so than ever...Too bad that Leonard Foglia couldn't have brought it all in closer to the movie's 87 minutes." Full Review
"In the case of 'The Gin Game,' did Leonard Foglia just stay out of the way and let two pros go at it? Whatever, it works. What doesn’t work (except as an excuse to watch two pros go at it) is Coburn’s play. Since Tyson’s continual winning at cards can’t sustain one act, much less two, Coburn introduces some family conflicts that are more forced than a reality TV script." Full Review
"One thing you should probably not bet against is the little old lady onstage who seems to have supernatural luck with cards. Another is the two-person cast, James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson — actors still performing at the highest level despite their combined age of 174. You might wonder if there's something supernatural at work there, too...Handsome and beautifully acted revival." Full Review
"A moderately successful production…It’s Jones who anchors the show, especially gripping at depicting Weller as a broken man with a fierce temper who uses cards to try to numb the pain. Tyson, however, is too gentle and likable a presence for a character that’s supposed to be a cantankerous shrew...As a result, director Leonard Foglia’s production leans a little too heavily on the play’s comedic elements at the expense of its bitterness." Full Review
"Coburn's slim, deceptively lightweight duet is so hard to wrestle into submission that, in my experience, only the originals - the married team of Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn - turned the leisurely and schematic showcase into a profound meeting of wills and even of magic. The partnership of Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones comes very close...Directed with leisurely sensitivity by Leonard Foglia, the production lets the balance of powers shift and flow." Full Review
"The great pleasure in the revival of D.L. Coburn’s 1977 two-hander is watching the veteran performers work together with warmth and humor, not missing a beat...The play’s ending, with Weller’s burst of colossal rage and Fonsia’s retreat into loneliness, has always been unsatisfying. In this production, it’s just more so. But that frustration is easily trumped by the production’s great gift of allowing us to see Jones and Tyson perform together." Full Review
"Lonesome and raw revival...Jones and Tyson, it will surprise no one, make for lively sparring partners...'The Gin Game,' it turns out, has little to do with cards. Rather, it examines the narratives we fabricate in order to tolerate the relentless sadness that piles up with passing decades." Full Review
See it if you want to see the dazzling Tyson, altho the material is far beneath her. This is a stupid play. And Jones didn't improve it.
Don't see it if I was bored and frustrated. JEJ plays a bully. Nothing funny or charming or revelatory here. So disappointing. Why revive this clunker???
See it if you enjoy plays that very much depend upon the expertise of the actors, as the writing itself is quite slight
Don't see it if you want fast action, and know that you might want to smack some sense into both characters for being their own worst enemies
See it if you enjoy masterful performances and are prepared to laugh. From start to finish I was enchanted by Tyson and Jones.
Don't see it if you are looking for grand theatre, or are uncomfortable with explorations of the aging, and their lives.
See it if You want to see two of the best actors of the 20th and 21st centuries. Tender story that tugs at your heart strings and makes you think.
Don't see it if If you prefer musicals and have a hard time sitting through a show based only on the relationship of two characters.
See it if you want to see two classic stage actors in their later years kill it on stage together!
Don't see it if foul language bothers you; you're a racist; the thought of living in an old age home in the deep south is depressing to you.
See it if if you want to see two legends of the American Theatre perform one of the most witty, sharp and poignant plays around.
Don't see it if you've seen this production already.
See it if You really want to see Cicely Tyson or James Earl Jones live... They are both super talented but the story crawls.
Don't see it if You are looking for engaging plot or to be moved. A 90 minute lookyloo at big celebrities is the only draw here
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